Prison Choir are a seven member band from Wellington combining a diverse range of musical backgrounds into something intriguing. “Tongue” is their first single, ahead of an EP in 2021.

Prison choir’s “Tongue” starts off sparse, breathy whispered vocals over electric guitar arpeggios, like waking up from a particularly good dream and, in that initial moment of groggy recalibration, trying to make sense of the connection between the dream world and the real world. Wellington/ P┼Źneke does have a strong ‘neo-folk’ scene creating odd but dreamy transcendent but unusual music (thinking WOMB in particular and the general Sonorous Circles roster), so expectations may be set in those initial moments of the song.

But by the time that trumpet blast kicks in you get a sense this is no longer going to follow the path of Wellington’s neo-folk scene. Instead the song transforms into something more akin to the the fabulous hyper-melodic multi-dimensional world of The Polyphonic Spree. It shifts gear to euphoric bustling chamber pop with instruments swirling in the clouds. It’s a little bit psychedelic – the dream spell is not entirely broken – and there is a lot going on within the song’s 2 minutes 26 seconds.

Prison Choir are Xanthe Brookes (bass, vocals, guitar), Carla Camilleri (synth, vocals), Christian Dimick (guitar, vocals), Josh Finegan (drums), Sam Curtiss (guitar), Tharushi Bowatte (trumpet), and Olivia Wilding (cello). The mercurial craft and brevity of “Tongue” serves as a very effective introduction and a tempter for the upcoming EP.